Coniderations for navigating the ever-changing landscape
With continuous growth in global trade and interconnectivity, it is clear that we can only transition to a new normal together. Virus spread - including new variants - is not contained by geographic borders. We can only gain control of our destiny through a concerted vaccination effort in every part of the world. Approaches and priorities differ, but one theme is prevalent: Vaccine rollouts must accelerate for people to return to health, for employees to return to work, and for businesses to reopen, causing uncertainty to give way to increased business and consumer confidence, and uninterrupted global supply chains to resume.
Lessons learned from the pandemic for businesses
- Put people first
- Purpose and social responsibility are key
- Leadership must be front and center
- Communicate, communicate, communicate
- Agility is critical
- Wellbeing matters
- It takes a village
How the world looks at the conclusion of Q1
The World Health Organization (WHO), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other public health organizations agree that COVID-19 Vaccination is the path forward out of the pandemic. With more than 1.08 Billion doses administered across 172 countries as of April 28 20211, the world has administered enough doses to fully vaccinate 7.1% of the global population – significant progress but clearly, there is still a long way to go.
While the U.S. and some other countries have launched vaccination campaigns that have progressed well in Q1 2021, other countries have struggled with vaccine access, public health infrastructure fragility, and myriad other challenges. Given how interconnected COVID-19 has shown the world to be as respects travel, trade, supply chain risk, and health, financial, and economic impacts, no country is truly safe until every country is safe. We’re all in this together, and we have an opportunity to work better together to move to the other side of this pandemic. This is where public/private partnership cooperation can help accelerate the pace, and where the role of employers can become more prominent as part of the solution.
Aon’s efforts in Q1 focused on the following areas:
- Monitoring and Responding to New Developments
- COVID-19 Vaccination Consulting Services for Clients
- Solutions to Challenges of Managing a Partially Vaccinated Workforce
- Understanding COVID Long Haulers: What Employers Should Know
- Product Innovation: Example - Marine Cargo Track-and-Trace Solution for COVID-19 Vaccine Shipments
- Solution Innovation: Example - Resiliency Assessment
Continue reading for more information about each of these topics.
Monitoring and Responding to New Developments: What We're Watching Now
The following are examples of developments that could alter the timing of recovery (either positively or negatively) as the world seeks to bring the pandemic to a close:
- India’s COVID-19 crisis situation, as well as other hot spots such as Brazil and Mexico
- New learnings related to Long-Haulers
- The spread of variants
- Vaccine supplies, distribution and equity considerations
- Challenges faced by multinational organizations with employee footprints that span more than one country
COVID-19 Vaccination Consulting Services for Clients
Aon provides COVID-19 vaccination consulting services and solutions globally. While services are customized to a client’s specific needs and employee footprint, they fall into four general categories:
- Thought Leadership and Situation Awareness
- Planning - tactical framework and logistics assessments based on country/jurisdiction
- Communications – Assisting in the development of communications strategies. Given the trust that employees have in their employer, employers can play a key role in addressing timely vaccine information and helping employees overcome vaccine hesitancy.
- Execution – In addition to the role of public health and other governmental agencies, many countries allow employers to also play a role. Where it is possible for an employer to do so, we can assist the employer in facilitating execution.
Solutions to the Challenges of Managing a Partially Vaccinated Workforce
While the vaccination rollout is underway, many employers are planning a return to the workplace with an approach that may vary by country (and by jurisdiction within a country), depending on how infection rates are evolving and vaccination rates are progressing. Issues employers face revolve around the challenges of managing a partially vaccinated workforce and include, but are not limited to, questions like these:
1. Should vaccinated employees still be required to:
- Wear masks? Socially distance?
- Be restricted in movements and interactions at the worksite?
2. Should non-vaccinated employees:
- Have access to on-site facilities (cafeteria, gym)?
- Wear masks? Work from home?
- Access the building without COVID-19 testing?
3. Will proof of recent recovery from COVID-19 be acceptable in lieu of vaccination?
4. What is the impact on employee relations?
- Incentive to get vaccinated?
- Or resentment of co-workers?
5. What are the legal issues?
- Disparate impact on minority employees?
- Privacy concerns?
6. What are the implications for Facilities, Human Resources, Health & Welfare Plans and other Benefit Programs, Risk Management, (Re)Insurance, Retirement Plans, Investment Plans, other Financial/Operational considerations, ESG planning, etc.?
Many regulatory, legal, and other factors will impact the answers to these questions. To help employers with a U.S. footprint work through these questions and plan for the challenges and opportunities the vaccination pathway holds, in Q1, Aon’s Global COVID-19 Task Force conducted a COVID-19 Vaccination Webinar series. The webinars are recorded for on-demand replay at aon.com/coronavirus. For convenience, links are also included below.
What Employers Need to Know
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to unfold globally, reports are emerging of some COVID-19 survivors experiencing longer-term symptoms (lasting more than 3 months) and/or experiencing new neurological symptoms after the acute COVID-19 illness has passed. While extensive scientific research has been ongoing throughout the pandemic as it relates to prevention, risk reduction and treatment of COVID-19, more focus is now being directed toward better understanding the long-term health impacts of this disease and how to treat those who are suffering longer-term symptoms. Aon’s special report “Supporting COVID-19 Long Haulers: Anticipating the Needs of Employees in Response to COVID-19” helps employers better understand what is currently known about this condition and the actions they can take to support an employee who is suffering lingering symptoms and/or caring for a family member who is.
Links to Aon Webinars
Product Innovation Example: Marine Cargo Track-and-Trace Solution for COVID-19 Vaccine Shipments
To support the roll-out of the global vaccine program, Aon has developed an innovative Cargo Track-and-Trace Solution, which delivers timely and transparent insurance coverage for COVID-19 vaccine shipments through a combination of sensor data and analytics. The offering delivers enhanced All-Risk Marine Cargo insurance coverage, with timely payment for doses that fall outside of the temperature specifications while being transported or stored, enabling more effective risk management and claims support. Real-time reporting of any temperature deviation will support the proactive mitigation of future losses and maximize the number of doses administered.
- Up to USD 75 million of coverage, provided by participating insurers, with sub-limits for specific modes of conveyance
- All-risk cargo insurance coverage with the enhanced temperature deviation coverage#
- 30-day payment commitment in the event of a verified temperature deviation loss, up to USD 10 million
- Coverage available on a global basis, where approved
- Available to all parties in the vaccine supply chain, including pharmaceutical firms, government bodies, transportation and logistics companies, distributors, health systems, pharmacy chains and inoculation centers globally
Aon pledge as respects this Track-and-Trace Solution for COVID-19 Vaccine Shipments: As part of our ongoing efforts to support the global vaccination program, Aon is donating 100% of all Aon revenues earned from this solution in 2021 to a charity dedicated to eradicating the global human and economic toll of the pandemic. Please see our press release
Solution Innovation Example: Resiliency Assessment
The Aon Resiliency Assessment is designed to evaluate all aspects of an organization’s response to COVID-19, covering 17 areas across risk and human resources. Originally designed as a return-to-work readiness tool, the assessment has been redesigned with a “Future of Work” perspective. Organizations use an electronic survey to record their responses to 130 questions; Aon evaluates the responses and prepares a robust and thorough report which includes a set of recommendations.
The results are reviewed in a debrief meeting with Aon key subject matter experts on topics such as:
- The future of work
- The future of benefits
- Other areas that the organization’s scores indicated should be discussed further
In addition to a discussion of the organization’s specific responses, the meeting agenda also includes a review of trends that Aon has seen throughout the assessment process.
Whether the organization is evaluating their COVID-19 related changes already made, determining whether to make those changes permanent, or pausing to re-evaluate a virtual identity and changing real estate footprint, the Resiliency Assessment can meet them where they are in the process. By partnering the right Aon subject matter expert with the client at the right time, Aon can help clients seeking to return thier employees to the workplace safely with an eye toward the future.
Charting the Course to the New Better: Preparing for the next “Grey Swan” event
"Today, clients are justifiably focused on the unprecedented socioeconomic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, but they are also increasingly aware of other challenges like climate change, supply chain disruption, reimagining and configuring how and where work gets done, and the growing health-wealth gap," said Greg Case, Chief Executive Officer of Aon. "If, and when, a reputation crisis occurs, this research reinforces the importance of promptly acknowledging the seriousness of the event itself but, most importantly, how to translate this understanding into decisive action.“ Greg Case Chief Executive Officer of Aon
Like their better-known "Black Swan'' event cousins, "Grey Swan'' events can greatly impact firms; but unlike Black Swans, which seem inconceivable before they happen, Grey Swans are known beforehand. They are long-tail risks, known but thought unlikely – and thus firms have often neglected to investresources to prepare for them. Aon has collaborated with Pentland Analytics to produce the report, "Respecting the Grey Swan." The report details the impact crises have on reputation and shareholder value and emphasizes the need for organizations to recalibrate their approach to risk and crisis in a highly volatile world.
The report highlights that Grey Swans require focused attention and investment; e.g.:
- Reimagine the risk landscape through a broader risk assessment
- Acknowledge the seriousness of impact with a focused investment in risk preparedness and crisis management
- Translating understanding into action, fostering a responsive and agile culture
Contact your Aon Team to learn more about Aon’s industry-specific solutions
- Pre-loss consulting services
- Post-loss claims advocacy
- Risk transfer solutions